Around the Watershed: News and Events

Esopus Creek News — Spring Edition

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by Leslie_Zucker

The short edi­tion of the Eso­pus Creek News newslet­ter called “The Trib” is now avail­able! Explore how you can learn more about streams on your prop­erty and in the water­shed. We also dis­cuss the recent ten-year “dry spell” in river flows and the start of hur­ri­cane sea­son on June 1 and ways you can be pre­pared. Res­i­dents of the Ashokan Water­shed can con­tact the stream man­age­ment pro­gram at (845) 688‑3047. While the stream pro­gram office in Shokan is cur­rently closed to the pub­lic, our staff are respond­ing to mes­sages. Con­tact us at to have the newslet­ter deliv­ered to your email.

Recreate Responsibly

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
Image courtesy of the Catskill Center

Image cour­tesy of the Catskill Center


Memo­r­ial Day Week­end is upon us and after weeks of iso­la­tion and stay­ing home many of us are itch­ing to get out to the few places that are open to the pub­lic. While we here at the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram nor­mally would encour­age any­one to come and visit our region, we have to acknowl­edge that this year things are dif­fer­ent. While COVID-19 infec­tions and hos­pi­tal­iza­tions are declin­ing we still need to do our part to ensure that the spread is lim­ited and to keep new out­breaks from popping-up. To that end, while we want every­one to get out­side and enjoy the weather we need to do so responsibly.

The New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and many other regional groups have encour­aged the fol­low­ing safety mea­sures:

  • Stay Local! Stay close to home, keep your visit short and avoid high-traffic destinations.
  • Be Safe! Avoid crowds and groups (includ­ing crowded trail­heads). Keep a dis­tance of at least 6 feet from oth­ers. Alert oth­ers as you’re about to pass or step aside to let oth­ers pass.
  • Be Ready! Move quickly through park­ing lots, trail­heads and scenic areas. If a site is crowded, choose a dif­fer­ent park, trail or time to visit.
  • Stay Home! If you’re not feel­ing well, stay home. Any­one older than 70 or with a com­pro­mised immune sys­tem should also stay home.


If you’re local to the Ashokan Water­shed we encour­age you to visit some of our many streams. Kanape Brook in the Town of Olive and Rochester Hol­low in the Town of Shan­daken both have walk­ing trails that mostly par­al­lel the streams. Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground has trails near the Lit­tle Beaverkill (camp­ing is cur­rently pro­hib­ited). Many of our streams, includ­ing the Eso­pus Creek, have pub­lic fish­ing access points along them where you can go angling. Visit the Ulster County RECon­nect Map to see those loca­tions as well as other hik­ing, fish­ing and out­door oppor­tu­ni­ties. Be sure to keep at least six feet apart, not share equip­ment, and san­i­tize your hands regularly.

We firmly believe that even dur­ing these dif­fi­cult times you can (and should) get out­doors and do so safely and with respect for oth­ers. Respon­si­ble recre­ation is impor­tant even dur­ing nor­mal times and now more than ever. Please do your part to main­tain social dis­tance and to keep your­self and every­one healthy.

Image courtesy of the Catskill Center

Image cour­tesy of the Catskill Center

Watershed Animal Spotlight — The American Beaver

Posted on: May 18th, 2020 by Irene Foster
North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

North Amer­i­can Beaver (Cas­tor canadensis)


Have you ever looked at a stick and thought it looked super tasty? No? Well if you were a beaver you would eat tree bark and leaves, as well as aquatic veg­e­ta­tion. Recently, Matt Savatgy, our Water­shed Youth Edu­ca­tor, and I took a field trip to the Lit­tle Beaver Kill in Mount Trem­per.  We kayaked up the Lit­tle Beaver Kill (mak­ing sure we were socially dis­tant) look­ing for evi­dence of beavers for our new video series the Water­shed Ani­mal Spot­light. The star of our first episode is the Amer­i­can Beaver.

The Lit­tle Beaver Kill has a thriv­ing beaver pop­u­la­tion, and we were able to see many exam­ples of beaver activ­ity along the stream.  There was an assort­ment of dams, lodges, and canals that showed how busy the beavers have been. Beavers can build all of these because they are per­fectly adapted for life in the water. Some of their aquatic adap­ta­tions include water­proof fur, trans­par­ent eye­lids that allow them to see under­wa­ter, and web­bing between the toes of their back feet that helps them to swim more efficiently.

Be on the look­out for large piles of sticks in ponds and streams, it just might be a beaver lodge. If you want to learn more about beavers, check out our new video by vis­it­ing the AWSMP YouTube Chan­nel or using the fol­low­ing link:



Ashokan Reservoir: A Great Place to Recreate

Posted on: May 18th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
Ashokan Reservoir. Photo by Allison Lent

Ashokan Reser­voir. Photo by Alli­son Lent


We just wanted to share some beau­ti­ful pho­tos of the Ashokan Reser­voir that were taken recently by AWSMP and Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict employee Alli­son Lent. Even in times like these when there is so much stress and uncer­tainty we should con­sider our­selves lucky to be in such close prox­im­ity to so much nat­ural splendor.

We’re in the midst of fish­ing sea­son and the Ashokan Reser­voir is a great place to get out­side and enjoy some fish­ing while main­tain­ing social dis­tanc­ing. Before you head out be sure to get a New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (NYC DEP) Access Per­mit (free of charge and eas­ily done online) and a New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) Fish­ing License (can also be done online but costs vary).

We hope that you enjoy the reser­voir, pub­lic fish­ing and other pub­lic access along our streams, and every­thing else that our water­shed has to offer.

Ashokan Reservoir. Photo by Allison Lent.

Ashokan Reser­voir. Photo by Alli­son Lent.



New Video on Stream Channel Stability

Posted on: May 6th, 2020 by Tim Koch

The AWSMP office might be phys­i­cally closed, but our edu­ca­tion staff have been hard at work gen­er­at­ing online stream based con­tent for both youth and adults.

AWSMP Educators Matt Savatgy, Brent, Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Amanda Cabanillas.

AWSMP Edu­ca­tors (from left to right) Matt Savatgy, Brent Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Amanda Caban­il­las dur­ing a snow­shoe stream walk in 2019.


AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch has just released a new video on stream chan­nel sta­bil­ity: what it is, and why it is impor­tant to main­tain and improve the sta­bil­ity of our rivers and streams. This 9-minute video is meant for landown­ers, munic­i­pal offi­cials, con­ser­va­tion advi­sory coun­cil mem­bers, and any­one else inter­ested in or involved in stream management.


This video can also be viewed directly from AWSMP’s YouTube Chan­nel.

AWSMP Water­shed Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savatgy and Pro­gram Assis­tant Amanda Caban­il­las are cur­rently pro­duc­ing a series of edu­ca­tional videos and at-home activ­i­ties for stu­dents. Fol­low along at home as they dis­cuss dif­fer­ent types of rocks, assess a cul­vert, and inves­ti­gate stream fea­tures in a chan­nel cross-section.


Screenshot of CCE Ulster Youth Education Video Series Website

Screen­shot of CCE Ulster Youth Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Video Series Website


The online sci­ence series can be found at the Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County web­site and on the AWSMP web­site under Videos.

Check back with us in the com­ing weeks, espe­cially if you are a stream­side landowner or own prop­erty in the Spe­cial Flood Haz­ard Area as Resource Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch will be pro­duc­ing a series of short videos on flood­plains, flood­proof­ing, and all things flood insur­ance. In these upcom­ing videos, Brent will teach view­ers how to read a flood insur­ance rate map (FIRM) and the work­ings of the National Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP) among other flood related topics.

As always, our edu­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal staff are avail­able to answer any stream, flood­plain, or ripar­ian buffer related ques­tions! Call the AWSMP office main line at (845) 688‑3047 for assis­tance or email

Looking for something to do outdoors? Go on an Ashokan Watershed Adventure!

Posted on: May 1st, 2020 by Irene Foster
Woodland Creek. Photo by Irene Foster.

Wood­land Creek. Photo by Irene Foster.


Tired of being cooped up at home? Look­ing for a way to safely go out­side and avoid large crowds? If your fam­ily is look­ing for some­thing fun to do right now, con­sider going on the Ashokan Water­shed Adven­ture (AWA).  The AWA is a self-guided tour of the Ashokan Reser­voir Water­shed that is per­fect for any age.  You will be able to go out­side and get some exer­cise while still adher­ing to social dis­tanc­ing guidelines.

The AWA has eleven stops across the water­shed where you will learn more about the his­tory of the Eso­pus Val­ley and Ashokan Water­shed, stream process, aquatic ecol­ogy, and the geol­ogy of the area.  You’ll also be able to col­lect prizes after vis­it­ing four, eight, or eleven stops if you either post a pho­to­graph to social media and hash­tag it with #Ashokan­Wa­ter­shedAd­ven­ture or if you answer the essen­tial ques­tions in the Ashokan Water­shed Adven­ture Guide.  For more detailed instruc­tions, you can find the Ashokan Water­shed Adven­ture Guide on the AWSMP web­site.  Once you visit the sites, con­tact Linda at (845) 688‑3047 to arrange pick­ing up your prizes.

The Ashokan Water­shed Adven­ture stops are more secluded and are less likely to be crowded, allow­ing you to main­tain social dis­tance.  In addi­tion, this is a great chance to learn more about the area you live in.  Maybe you will visit a new place or learn some­thing new about the water­shed. If any of the loca­tions are closed, you will still be able to claim the full prize.  Remem­ber to have fun, col­lect your prizes, and be safe!

Be sure to check our social media pages on Face­book, Twit­ter (@AshokanStreams), and Insta­gram (#ashokanstreams) to see some of the loca­tions in the Ashokan Water­shed Adventure.

Mount Tremper Route 28 Bridge Replacement Project Takes Shape

Posted on: April 30th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
Land clearing for the new Route 28 Bridge in Mount Tremper begins. Photo by A. Bennett.

Land clear­ing for the new Route 28 Bridge in Mount Trem­per begins. Photo by A. Bennett.


If you’ve been through Mount Trem­per recently you may have noticed some major changes includ­ing a lot of land clear­ing and grad­ing. The rea­son for this is that the New York State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (NYSDOT) is prepar­ing to replace the Route 28 Bridge across the Eso­pus Creek. The new bridge will be con­structed just down­stream of the cur­rent bridge and will have a higher and much longer span. This will allow more water to pass beneath it dur­ing a flood and help pre­vent a backup of water from flood­ing the nearby area. Dur­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Irene in 2011, flood waters tem­porar­ily pre­vented traf­fic from cross­ing the bridge as well as adja­cent State Route 212. Route 28 will also be slightly realigned to match the approach to the new bridge.

There will be even more changes in Mount Trem­per. Since 2011, sev­eral prop­er­ties there have been acquired through fed­eral, state, and city acqui­si­tion pro­grams. NYSDOT will be using por­tions of these bought-out prop­er­ties to realign and raise Route 212. In addi­tion, the exist­ing berm, which is no longer needed to help pro­tect homes, is being removed and the mate­r­ial from it will be used to ele­vate the road. With­out the berm, flood­wa­ters will now be able to bet­ter access the flood­plain, and when cou­pled with the larger bridge, flood ele­va­tions dur­ing the 100-Year Flood are expected to decrease by 6.8 feet at the bridge. Later this year, the Mount Pleas­ant Bridge, which has been closed to traf­fic for decades, will be removed which will fur­ther reduce flood risk for the area. Dur­ing the con­struc­tion of all these projects, Mount Trem­per res­i­dents will be tem­porar­ily get­ting their mail from the Boiceville Post Office.

We’ll be cov­er­ing the progress of this project through­out the year so check back reg­u­larly for more updates. Be sure to check out our Face­book, Twit­ter, and Insta­gram pages for more photos.

Land is being cleared to prepare for the new Route 28 Bridge in Mount Tremper. Photo by A. Bennett.

Land is being cleared to pre­pare for the new Route 28 Bridge in Mount Trem­per. Photo by A. Bennett.

A Conversation on Mayflies with Ed Ostapczuk

Posted on: April 15th, 2020 by Irene Foster
Quill Gordon Mayfly (Epeorus pleuralis). Photo by Ed Ostapczuk

Quill Gor­don Mayfly (Epe­orus pleu­ralis).
Photo by Ed Ostapczuk


Irene Fos­ter, AWSMP’s Water­shed Pro­gram Assis­tant for the year, had a chance to speak with local angler Ed Ostapczuk about this year’s mayfly hatch in streams of the Ashokan water­shed. A “hatch” occurs when insects enter the final stage of their life cycle. The nymphs molt their skin and become sub-adults after they emerge from the water sur­face. Mayflies are a sta­ple in the trout’s diet and anglers who dry fly fish imi­tate the size and color of mayfly nymphs. One of Ed’s favorite mayflies is the “Quill Gor­den,” sci­en­tific name Epe­orus pleu­ralis.

Irene reports: I talked with Ed Ostapczuk this week to learn about the Quill Gor­don Mayfly.  Ed is a knowl­edge­able fly fisher and the author of Ram­blings of a Charmed Cir­cle Fly­fisher.


Q: When do you usu­ally see Quill Gor­don mayflies?

A: You typ­i­cally start to see them in mid to late April.  This year they appeared ear­lier, because of the warmer winter.


Q: Where is the best place in the Ashokan Water­shed to find Quill Gor­don mayflies?

A: In head­wa­ters and trib­u­taries because they live in the clean, cold, fast mov­ing water found in these spots.


Q: Are you see­ing a lot of Quill Gor­don mayflies this year?

A: The usual amount, which is about a dozen or so with each appearance.


Q: Are there dif­fer­ent species of mayflies?

A: Yes, there are hun­dreds of species of mayflies, and dozens in the Catskills.  Dif­fer­ent species pre­fer var­i­ous envi­ron­ments and can be found in dif­fer­ent loca­tions.  For exam­ple, the Green Drake mayfly, which prefers silty pools, is rare on the Eso­pus but can be found in other places in the Catskills.


Q: What sig­nif­i­cance do the Quill Gor­don mayflies have for trout fishing?

A: Trout mostly feed on Quill Gor­don mayflies when they are in the nymph stage, and some­times in the dun stage.  There­fore, peo­ple who are going fish­ing can tie their flies to look like nymphs or duns to attract fish.


Q: What habi­tat con­di­tions do Quill Gor­don mayflies enjoy?

A: Quill Gor­don mayflies need cold, fast, and clear water because they need oxy­gen.  They can be thought of as canaries in a coal mine, because they are sen­si­tive to envi­ron­men­tal changes such as pollution.


Q: What role do mayflies play in stream ecosystems?

A: Mayflies are food for other species such as trout, other insects, or birds.

Quill Gordon fly fishing flies.

Quill Gor­don fly fish­ing flies.

CSBI Works on Demonstration Project in Mount Tremper

Posted on: April 8th, 2020 by Irene Foster
The Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) prepares a riparian buffer demonstration site on the grounds of the Emerson Resort and Spa in Mount Tremper.

The Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) pre­pares a ripar­ian buffer demon­stra­tion site on the grounds of the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Tremper.


While many peo­ple both in and out­side the water­shed are cur­rently work­ing from home, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) is still able to do some field work. This week, Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) Coor­di­na­tor Bobby Tay­lor, was able to get out and do some work on a project at the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Tremper.

This project is a demon­stra­tion of Catskill native ripar­ian veg­e­ta­tion for vis­i­tors to the Emer­son, com­mu­nity dog walk­ers, and oth­ers. It will also be used for future edu­ca­tion and out­reach events. Last fall, CSBI planted over 1,000 trees and shrubs of 34 native species at this site and installed over 200 native sedges. This week, Bobby worked on lay­ing down two sec­tions of a wood­chip trail that goes through the project.  Next week, he will be till­ing, aer­at­ing, and rak­ing the soil to get ready to plant a pol­li­na­tor friendly ripar­ian meadow mix.

Ripar­ian buffers help reduce stream bank ero­sion, fil­ter stormwa­ter runoff, and pro­vide a unique habi­tat. CSBI is a landowner assis­tance pro­gram aimed at inform­ing and assist­ing stream­side landown­ers in becom­ing good stew­ards of their ripar­ian areas through pro­tec­tion, enhance­ment, man­age­ment, and restora­tion. Tech­ni­cal and finan­cial assis­tance is avail­able to eli­gi­ble landown­ers for ripar­ian buffer improve­ments. For more infor­ma­tion and to see if you are eli­gi­ble for assis­tance from CSBI please con­tact Bobby Tay­lor at or visit the CSBI web­site.

CSBI lays down woodchips for a trail through the demonstration.

CSBI lays down wood­chips for a trail through the demonstration.

Stream Explorers Youth Adventure Postponed to July 17

Posted on: April 3rd, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

Due to the grow­ing num­ber of COVID-19 cases and the need to prac­tice social dis­tanc­ing to keep our­selves and every­one safe, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram has post­poned the Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture. The event, orig­i­nally sched­uled for April 18, has been resched­uled to July 17. Cur­rent reg­is­tra­tions will still be hon­ored but if you would like to receive a refund please con­tact Linda Gonnella at

For more infor­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter for the July 17 event please click here.

For more infor­ma­tion about COVID-19 please con­sider vis­it­ing the New York Exten­sion Dis­as­ter Edu­ca­tion Net­work (NY EDEN) web­site.